Creative Commons License photo credit: Eric Weisser

A little while ago I was thinking about how in computers many transistors together form the processor. A transistor turns on and off. Which struck me as interesting because it is polar opposites, Yin and Yang. The on or off of the transistor is why the smallest piece of data, a bit, is either 1 or 0. Which looks very much like something (1) and nothing (0).


Now what really got me thinking was that there are 8 bits in a byte. I had no idea why so I looked around on the net to find out. All I could get was that they tried several different numbers of bits in a byte and eventually over time it just ended up being 8. There was never any standard set by some sort of organization made up of computer producers, programmers or the military back in the day. It was just found to work the best over time and so everything moved towards eventually using 8 bits in a byte.

Now there are 64 hexagrams ( 8 x 8 ) in the Yi Ching (the book of changes) and the first hexagram in the King Wen sequence is 6 solid lines and the second hexagram is 6 broken lines. Exact opposites. They represent heaven and earth, the yin and yang from which the 10,000 things (everything) sprang.

In our DNA there are 64 codons that code for amino acids in DNA. There are 8 primary hexagrams, there are 8 bits in a byte, there are 8 indispensable amino acids, there are 8 known B vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism, the Buddha created the 8 fold path to liberation, as of 2006 eight of the bodies orbiting the sun in our solar system are considered planets, 8 is the atomic number of oxygen, the Buddha’s birthday falls on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar, Jesus was resurrected on the 8th day, in Islam 8 is the number of angels carrying the holy throne of Allah. 8 is the most auspicious number for the Chinese. In numerology 8 is the number of building and interestingly in some theories the number of destruction. An octave, the interval between two notes with the same letter name (where one has double the frequency of the other), is so called because there are eight notes on a western scale between the two, including the notes themselves. In chess, each side has eight pawns and the board is made of 64 squares arranged in an eight by eight lattice. There are 8 pints in a gallon and 8 furlongs in a mile. In the quaternary numeral system (base 4), which parallels the way genetic code is represented by DNA code 8 is 20, there are 20 different types of amino acids.

DNA code is written in 4 letters called A, C, T, & G. The meaning of the code lies in the sequence of these letters. Our cells read the DNA sequence to make chemicals that our bodies need to survive. Because there are 4 different letters there are exactly 64 combinations that can be used. Some codons code for the same amino acid and some don’t code for an amino acid at all. Instead they provide for the punctuation and grammar, like where a cell should start and stop reading a sequence.

Carl Jung studied the Yi Ching and from it came up with his theory of synchronicity.
The Yi Ching is actually comprised of the combination of eight symbols (trigrams) of three lines, either broken or unbroken, in all possible combinations with each other. By doubling the trigrams, the permutations yield 64 more complex symbolic possibilities of six lines each (hexagrams).

The King Wen sequence of the sixty-four hexagrams of the Yi Ching is among the oldest structured abstractions extant. It has been found scratched on the shoulder bones of sheep that have been dated to 4000 BC so we do know that this sequence existed very early in ancient China.

The solid line in a hexagram represents yang, the masculine, creative principle. The open line represents yin, the feminine, receptive principle. These principles are also represented in a common circular symbol, called Tai Ji, but more commonly known in the west as yin-yang, expressing the idea that everything contains its opposite.

The McKenna brothers demonstrated overlaying the 384 lines of the sixty-four hexagrams (6 x 64 = 384) on the 13-month lunar calendar (13 X 29.53 days = 383.89 days). They then used these basic units to develop a temporal lock with the solar/sunspot cycle, the Zodiacal Ages, and the length of the Great Year of processional motion. With the same increment, sixty-four, they found it was possible to assemble a 26 step model of space/time from the size/age of the universe down to Planck’s Constant. In this view, the Yi Ching is a fractal model of all that is, was, or will be. It is also holographic in that the piece contains the information of the whole.

8 on its side is the symbol for infinity. One idea about where the infinity symbol came from is the Roman numeral for 1000 – M. In binary 8 is 1000.


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