Sunday 9 May 2021

Magnetic I Ching


I was made aware of a method that used magnets to cast hexgrams. It's an interesting idea developed and commercialized by Paradoxy Products which relates the opposite poles of magnets to yin and yang.

Frankly, I'm not clear why this is advertised as authentic (implying that the other methods are fake?) and direct (like any other method, it randomly selects one of the states of a physical object to draw the hexagram one line at the time, so it's direct or indirect like any other method).

Nevertheless it is an ingenius method and I'll leave the consideration above to your judgement. You can see the full video on YouTube.

The wooden base has a slot on the top housing a long magnet and, at the bottom, a reaction channel where you can slide two square magnets. 

You flip and turn the square magnets and, when you're satisfied, you slide them in the wooden base from opposite directions.

The two magnets will repel or attract each other (giving you a broken or a solid line) and will (fully or partially) attract or repel the long magnet above them. 

If a solid line fully repels the long magnet, or if a broken line fully attracts it, then it's a changing line.

I don't have the device so my analysis of probabilites is just a speculation based on the possible outcomes presented in the video at 1:45 and reported in the following picture. Feel free to point out in the comments any suggestion or feedback.

Only 8 of the possible 16 configurations are reported in the picture. Considering how magnetism works I'm inclined to think that those outcome are spread evenly meaning that this method, from a probabilistic point of view, is fully equivalent to the three coins method:

Prob(6) = Prob(9) = 1/8 = 12.5%
Prob(8) = Prob(7) = 3/8 = 37.5%
Prob(yin) = Prob(yang) = 1/2

A definitive conclusion may be made by testing all the 16 possibile configuration and count how many of them gives the results depicted in the figure. Especially, how many configuration fully repel or attract the long magnet.

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