As your humble Archivist, it is my privilege to welcome you to the latest version of our Game, which has been known in the past as both Esoteric Chess and the Glass Bead Game. Because the secrecy that has long surrounded it need no longer be maintained, I have placed this information within the public arena for the first time. Since this may introduce new Players to the Game, I have reviewed our Order's Archives and distilled the information recorded there for Novice and Master alike.
All other features of Intrachange should be familiar to master-level Players and require minimal description or explanation. "Directions" regarding the use of all the above-mentioned tools will be found on their respective pages; reference material can be found by clicking here.
An explanation of each of the above points, including more general background information which may be useful to new Players, follows
We call them our prehistoric ancestors because the symbolic language we inherited from them predates written history. Their effort to express the single nature common to the world and human beings is based on the observation that the forces ruling space and time are the same forces governing human nature. They found the way these forces govern to be identical to the rules of a complex game. Esoteric Chess evolved as a language of universal symbols arranged so as to form a game that represents the world in miniature - -a microcosmic world within which human beings participate in increasingly sophisticated ways.
Because the structure of the I Ching and the structure of Chess are identical, Esoteric Chess is a game with two principal features: (1) the squares, pieces and moves of Chess give form and substance to the hexagrams, lines and changes of the I Ching; and, (2) the hexagrams, lines and changes of the I Ching give meaning and value to the squares, pieces and moves of Chess. In other words, the synergism of the Game results from (1) Chess spatializing the I Ching and (2) the I Ching spiritualizing Chess.
These three criteria reflect the traditional structure of the Game, which is constructed of three Levels of play: the Game Level, the Self-Realization Level, and the Artistic-Creative Level. The antiquity of this structure is demonstrated by the fact that the first entry ever recorded in the Archives reads: to live is to play, to play is to know, to know is to create.
The Game Level is constructed of the formal correlation between Chess, the I Ching, and Dyadic (or, binary) Mathematics. Of the nine Correlations comprising the three Levels, only these three are fixed in their final, unalterable, form. As stated above, it is this Correlation which constitutes the quintessential nature of the Game - - and the one to which all other Correlations are made.
The Self-Realization Level is constructed of Correlations to Ontology, Psychology, and Sociology. This Level is built on the axiom that self-realization is achieved only when the individual fulfills his or her innate potential within the full range of human experience - -within the three-fold mystery of existence, oneself, and humanity.
The Artistic-Creative Level is constructed of Correlations to Language, Music, and Art. The purpose of this Level is to provoke subjective images and associations within the individual by means of objective, archetypal, symbols - - subjective images and associations which lend themselves to the widest range of creative expression.
As your humble Archivist, I consider it my duty to report that a growing number of Players already refer to the Internet as New Castalia. By this they signal their acceptance of the medium as a borderless nation of world citizens seeking autonomy. Hesse writes extensively of his dissatisfaction with the failed utopian dreams of the original Castalia: it wasn't worldly enough in its idealism; its one-sided focus on the spirit actually stunted the individual's development; and, in its effort to systematize and value the past accomplishments of humanity, it ceased to be creative.
Most Players agree with Hesse on these issues. In point of fact, these Players hold that Hesse's well-known contact with the previous generations of Players led to such criticisms of the Game - - criticisms which many in the current generation share. As your humble Archivist, it is my responsibility to inform you that, despite considerable support among Players for the placement of the Game on the Internet, there does exist a cadre of Players who oppose this move. Those who support this move, however, meet such resistance by pointing out that Hesse's real vision seems to call for a community whose shared medium of exchange provides them with the means to entertain themselves, to cultivate themselves, and to express themselves - - and with this vision they declare themselves in full agreement. Among the current generation of Players no conflict exists between the actuality of the Internet and their vision of the Game - - in the long run, they believe, both are worldly in the pursuit of self- fulfillment, monastic in the pursuit of self-development, and individualistic in the pursuit of self-expression.
From this viewpoint, then, the future of the Game, while not linked to the future of the Internet, may well run parallel to it, for certainly the prevailing winds of change will influence both in similar ways as history continues to witness the continuing world war between rule and play, between groupthink and freedom, between authority and creativity.
Regardless of any other issues, however, the linkage to computerization and the telecommunications medium alters the mechanics of the Game in some intriguing ways.
While the net effect of this Correlation may not be immediately apparent to novices, those familiar with both the I Ching and Chess will quickly appreciate the ramifications:
This fundamental aspect of the Game is governed by the following relationships between Piece and Line:
|white king||solid top line||black king||broken top line|
|white queen||solid fifth line||black queen||broken fifth line|
|white bishop||solid fourth line||black bishop||broken fourth line|
|white knight||solid third line||black knight||broken third line|
|white rook||solid second line||black rook||broken second line|
|white pawn||solid bottom line||black pawn||broken bottom line|
The heart of the Game revolves around the single fact that only half of all possible Moves permit this relationship of correspondence between Piece and Line.
Moves in which Piece and Line do not correspond are the following:
|white king||broken top line||black king||solid top line|
|white queen||broken fifth line||black queen||solid fifth line|
|white bishop||broken fourth line||black bishop||solid fourth line|
|white knight||broken third line||black knight||solid third line|
|white rook||broken second line||black rook||solid second line|
|white pawn||broken bottom line||black pawn||solid bottom line|
In these cases, the Piece cannot occupy the Square into which it has been moved: it must be moved immediately to the Square corresponding to the one Hexagram in which the Piece corresponds to its Line without changing any of the other Lines.
These are the Esoteric Moves of our Game, the so-called "secret moves" to "secret squares" with "secret meanings" about which much has been speculated by the uninitiated. The true impact of the Esoteric Moves on the traditional game of Chess may be summarized thus - -
To reiterate: this version of the Game determines Esoteric Moves and relocates Pieces to their appropriate Square automatically. It is not necessary for new Players to understand the technical considerations of these Moves in order to begin playing - - but to ever hope to gain mastery within the Game, Players must grasp the information presented above on both an intellectual and intuitive level.
There are two documents in the Reference section which refer specifically to the above information:
As your humble Archivist, it is my responsibility to point out that hundreds of generations of Players have passed through the Game and not one of them has ever arrived at an adequate definition of the Esoteric Moves. This is because, first and foremost, the Esoteric Move means something different to every Player.
For some Players, it may simply represent a strategy for overcoming their opponents within the Game Level. For others, it may represent a transition, a change of direction, a change of consciousness within the Self-Realization Level. For yet others, it may represent the unexpected, the unknown, the coincidences of life, within the Artistic-Creative Level.
The Esoteric Move has long been used to represent such classical themes as transcendence, mysticism, and metamorphosis. More contemporary Players have, likewise, found it useful as a means of representing themes associated with quantum mechanics, the dynamics of chaos, and multi-cultural mythologies.
The power of the Esoteric Move lies in its very ambiguity: because it does not come already-laden with a predetermined meaning, it may be used to represent the living symbols idiosyncratic to each individual Player.
All future Games played in the Intrachange format, then, will be recorded automatically, which will permit Players to review the archived Games of other Players. Because all past Games were played under the auspices of secrecy, however, that is where they shall remain - - a consideration of the utmost consequence to the past and current Masters of our Order.
The Game is ancient and has spawned numerous Orders. Ours is the oldest and largest of the Orders, the name of which was translated by Hesse, for his novelistic purposes, as Magic Theater. What makes our Order distinct from others is the Three Levels: ours is the only one whose focus is upon the interplay of the Game, Self-Realization, and Artistic-Creative Levels. Although every Order inherits the same birthright bestowed by the I Ching-Chess Correlation and its natural extension, the Esoteric Move, the other Orders are built upon different worldviews, values, and histories as recorded in their own Archives. Among our own Archives, I find references to at least three other Orders, about which this much is known - -
As your humble Archivist, I can report that the Archives clearly indicate that all Orders, regardless of their divergent interpretations of the Game, share the same stated goal: to participate in the perpetual give-and-take between the forces of light and shadow.
The practical effect of this property is that no one can ever know all there is to know about any system: as soon as one enters the system, a new potential is created. This property constitutes the Synergistic Paradox, which refers to the horizon of knowledge: descriptions of whole systems become obsolete in direct proportion to their comprehensiveness (the better the description, the faster the system outgrows the description).
This correlation refers to the identity of each of the nine systems comprising Intrachange: superficially, this simply identifies Chess as Chess itself, Psychology as Psychology itself, etc.; more profoundly, however, it demonstrates that increasing mastery of a discipline increases the potential of the discipline itself, which decreases the potential of individuals to achieve mastery of the discipline.
It is in this sense that whole systems are clearly living systems whose identities are always ultimately beyond the ken of their participants. It is this property of living systems which maintains the reciprocal growth of individuals and the Synergy of which they are a part.
This is precisely like the two Poles of planet Earth. The energy located in each site can be defined in terms of magnetic polarity: the North Pole has a negative charge, while the South Pole has a positive charge.
This exchange of identity whereby things change into their opposites lies at the very heart of the pattern of perception because it generates the most meaning-laden perceptions of individuals within whole systems.
This is precisely like the process of geomagnetic pole reversal, whereby the poles of the earth periodically reverse polarities and exchange identities: the magnetic charge of the North and South Poles has been demonstrated to be more fluid than previously suspected, since the North Pole has often times been charged as the positive magnetic pole and the South Pole has likewise been charged as the negative magnetic pole.
The permutation of one Situation into another is determined by the enantiodromial reversal of a combination of one or more of the six stages of development within the hierarchy of the 64 Contexts.
These eight Types are not static states but dynamic exchanges of energy marking the eight archetypal transitional relationships between states.
The possible combinations of the eight Inner Types and the eight Outer Types comprises a matrix of 64 Contexts. Each of these 64 embodies a different archetypal relationship between the Inner Nature and the Outer Nature of the situation as a whole.
The above represent the abstract relationships of each of the six Correlations. They do not express the manner in which specific elements from different disciplines are correlated to one another - - information which can be found in the reference material.
Click here to go to the current version of the Master Correlations Chart in the reference section.
It is a time-honored tradition among Players that they eventually construct their own set of Correlations. For some, this construct is strictly personal, one used solely for the purpose of their own interpretations. For others, the challenge to design a set of Correlations to a new Field is too great to resist: these Players then offer their Correlations to the body of Players at large in the hope that others will use them in their own Games.
One of the uses of the internet with the Intrachange version of the Game is that Players who seek to have their Correlations published may submit them electronically to the Archivists; if they meet the criteria for publication, then the Archivists will annually update Intrachange by incorporating them into this version. The same is true for suggestions regarding the Rules of the Game - - or for new Variations of the Game, such as those being proposed by a new generation of Players which incorporate role playing game motifs and methodologies.
Submissions may be sent to Archivists at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intrachange has carried this practice forward by assimilating past interpretations into more contemporary paradigms and generating a comprehensive list of Keywords for each of the Hexagrams and Line Changes. These Keywords may be used by Players to further explore the range of associated images and concepts found in the dynamics of the Game.
Click here to go to the Keywords Master List in the reference section.
In keeping with the practice of breaking the code of secrecy surrounding the Game, furthermore, Intrachange makes public the eight Glyphs long associated with the eight Trigrams. These are the Glyphs displayed on the home page of this website, arranged in four pairs of opposing/ complementing forces:
The purpose of these Glyphs is reportedly to return the symbolism of the elemental forces of the Game to the natural world from which they originally arose. They are translated (counterclockwise from the top) as: Sun, Valley, Fire, Thunderbolt, Moon, Mountain, Water, and Wind. They correspond to the Trigrams Ch'ien, Tui, Li, Chên, K'un, Kên, K'an, and Sun, respectively.
The Symbolism of the Move is the direct reflection of the Player's heart and mind when the Move was made: it represents the totality of a Player's experiences during that space of time when the Move, and its associations, was contemplated and decided upon as the best of all possible Moves.
The Game has few formal practices upon which it stands. The abundance of already-existing techniques of contemplation, meditation, and concentration have made it unnecessary for our Order to devise it own. But it is axiomatic among Players that this is a game of concentration.
Which is, of course, the last thing some people feel they need to play in this rushing whirlwind of modern life. The opposite, however, is closer to the truth: no one wants the constant flurry of distractions and nagging worries always detracting from their moment-to-moment happiness - - but it is difficult to find pastimes that both enhance concentration and produce results reflective of a sound heart, mind, and spirit. Master-level Players are unanimous in their belief that the only way to avoid all the confusing and worrisome distractions of everyday life - - without locking themselves away in a secluded monastery - - is to exercise their ability to concentrate regardless of what else is occurring around them. This exercising and increasing of their powers of concentration is seen by Players to be a major benefit of the Game.
Beyond this, most Players agree, the Game holds two further benefits. The first is meaningfulness: without fully concentrating on something, its fuller meaning does not emerge. It is a relatively well-known fact that the unconscious mind processes up to 2,000,000 bits of information per second. Without the capacity to maintain our concentration in the face of such a flood of impressions, we are swept away on a sea of meaningless, unconnected, thoughts and emotions. Because negative emotions and their accompanying thoughts can be the strongest and easiest to sustain over time, many people naturally fall into the habit of combating this meaninglessness by maintaining their focus on how they have been wronged in life - - a habit that builds up a continuity of meaning, regardless of how meaningless such an interpretation may actually be, that both lends order to the otherwise seemingly-chaotic events around them and imbues them with a sense of identity that is reinforced by every further indignity thrust upon them by a universe not apparently designed for their own personal comfort.
The Game offers an alternative to this cycle of meaninglessness. It teaches its Players to concentrate on chords, rather than melodies - - on constellations, rather than stars - - of symbols. It demands that its Players concentrate on clusters of simultaneous symbols, arranged as coexisting elements of the Correlations, rather than following linear "trains of thought". Such multiplex concentration, as it is currently called, evokes associations from its Players that are simultaneously personal and collective in meaning. It is for this reason that master-level Players speak less about symbols than they do about the relationships between associations - - and less about meanings than about the relationships between meanings.
The other benefit may only be Game-lore, but many Players claim that the endorphin released by the brain during strenuous physical exercise has an even more powerful counterpart, called euphorin, which is released by the brain during strenuous mental concentration. Players consistently report that prolonged multiplex concentration produces the following effects: a gradual freedom from other concerns; a pronounced and sustained euphoria; and, a sudden sense of an expanse of time.
The Game has few formal theories upon which it stands. The abundance of already-existing theories of perception, consciousness, and conception have made it unnecessary for our Order to devise its own. But it is axiomatic among Players that: (1) perception is experienced as pre-existing images, which enter, as already-formed entities, an individual's current universe of meaning; (2) consciousness organizes these images according to an internal, personal, hierarchy of meaningfulness; and, (3) conception translates these images via the relationships between meaningful associations - - including the random, the absurd, and the imaginary - - triggered by the individual's purely subjective cosmology. Or, in the words of the Player's Invocation: I am a mirror that captures, doubles, and then renders all that is exposed to me.
Master-level Players use a combination of I Ching interpretations, Correlations, and Keywords to assist the design of their Symbolism of Moves. In order to facilitate this process, Intrachange offers a set of on-line Research Tools - - in the form of dictionaries, a thesaurus, and various search engines - - which are all accessible from the same page on this website. Directions for their use are found on the Moves pages; obviously, the more familiar Players become with these tools, the more valuable they will find them.
Not all research tools, of course, are yet on-line. Most Players find it useful to own the best possible versions of the I Ching, a Dictionary, and a Thesaurus. There already exist a few on-line I Ching services, and Players may desire to locate them via a search engine and then set bookmarks to access them whenever needed. New Players, especially, may find it helpful to print out some or all of the pages on this website - - particularly those in the Reference Materials section.
New Players should familiarize themselves with the Rules of Play, at a minimum, before attempting an actual Game. They may, as well, wish to review other documents in the Reference Materials section, particularly the Master Correlations Chart. Also of interest to new Players may be a quick preview of the Archives section, particularly the Game Archive page.
As your humble Archivist, I am privileged to have welcomed you to Intrachange. In closing this Introduction, I prefer to let the Players themselves have the final word - - in the form of the Player's Credo, which has traversed countless generations and cultures to remind us today of the aboriginal motive for playing the Game of Light and Shadow: