The Iron Law of Six

The Zhouyi (or Yijing) identifies ultimate cosmic law with the order of time — which is the eternal in change. It consists of hexagrams — figures of six lines — because decimated duplication produces the endlessly recurring sequence of six phases, in the cycle 1, 2, 4, 8, 7, 5. As explicitly acknowledged in the Ten Wings of the Zhouyi, this six-step cycle is diplo-triadic. It consists of two trigrams, or twin triangles, with each set of pairs summing through addition to the number nine. Notably, exponential growth and rigid cyclicity are integrated in the abstract model of time. The ‘byte’ (2^3) still defers to its final authority in advanced modernity. That is the robust, arithmetically indisputable foundation of The Iron Law of Six.

“If you would promote a law, first submit yourself to it.” There is perhaps no antidote to moralism sounder than this. How, then, to make of The Iron Law of Six an overt, private fatality?

Consider this (utterly crude) convergence upon the same problem. In an age of unprecedentedly scrambled attention, “deep projects” tend to get lost. Nothing that is not built into the order of time will get done. (Some very relevant neuro-psychological background can be found here.)

Submission to the order of time is thus indispensable to any real power of execution. That time repeats is the only basis upon which to build anything new.

Formulated in the mode of Time: A User’s Guide, this is the Outsideness protocol:

(1) Acknowledge time as that which repeats each day, in a double triad, providing six slots. Submission to the Law necessitates that each of these slots will receive explicit attention.

(2) Initiation, proliferation, and compression compose a triad that instantiates a ‘Darwinian’ machine. Apply it to everything.

(3) Compile a list of everything that you are serious about doing. Economize by cycling it through the triad. Recognize, realistically, that anything which cannot be allotted a slot — i.e. a systematic call upon daily attention — will most probably not ever happen. If your work requires that you work on more than six projects at a time, which is to say some series of projects that cannot be bundled, culled, trimmed, and synthesized in rigorous conformity with The Iron Law of Six, then you are almost certainly attempting the impossible.

(4) Make a rhythm of innovation. To each thing you would have made real, a Time Shrine.

(5) Seximalize your life with extraordinary harshness (if you would achieve extraordinary things).

(6) Only then, when diplo-triadic order exercises sovereign authority over your every moment, confidently promote The Iron Law of Six.

March 31, 2015admin 11 Comments »


11 Responses to this entry

  • The Iron Law of Six | Neoreactive Says:

    […] The Iron Law of Six […]

    Posted on March 31st, 2015 at 4:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:


    2) is somewhat identical, though not entirely so, to the rhetorical form “Discovery / Articulation / Elucidation” – 1. The initiation of base forms, 2. Expansion of possible combinations those forms imply, 3. Compression of 1->2 into a simplified, concise, correct form.

    It is said that human lives are divided into these three, with youth being Discovery, prime/middle age being Articulation and old age being Elucidation. It is for this reason that they say Christ participated in old age (despite only living to 33–) the passion itself was the ultimate ‘Elucidation’ – recalling for instance the famed ‘seven last words of Christ’ and so on.

    An example of Elucidation are the sayings of Don Colacho; of Articulation Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and of Discovery Athanasius’ De Incarnatione, written when he was 19.

    Of the seximalzation of life, six is the number of man. In the monastic tradition you have a prayer cycle like this: 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, Compline, Nocturne. Nocturne would divide ‘first sleep’ which begins after Compline (if one slept) from ‘second sleep’ which begins after Nocturne. This grants you four phases of waking; dawn, morning, afternoon, dusk. The total number of distinctions becomes twelve: six points, six lines. One of the sleeps pertains to the state ‘sleeping’ and the other to ‘dreaming’. The four waking states obviously pertain to ‘waking’. Noon is ‘sext’ (sixth hour.)

    On days in which Liturgies are served (which may be once a day at most) you have seven instead: Vespers, Nocturnes, Matins, Liturgy, 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th. (The positioning of the Liturgy might vary, since it need only come after Matins.) The days properly begin with the setting of the sun. This means that the Eleventh hour, the hour right before Vespers (which is the ‘lamplighting’ during dusk) is the final hour of the day so reckoned.

    Seximalizing the week is simple: six days to work, one to rest. You can then get to eight by double-counting the rest day as an overlapping bookend (since adjoining territories often overlap in practice.)

    To correspond them with some kind of meaning, one can look at the structure of the six and do a little bit of tweaking:

    First Sleep: state: sleeping. Thought: anger. Action: Gentleness (passive)
    Second Sleep: state: dreaming. Thought: lust. Action: Chastity (passive)
    First Waking (dawn): state: waking. Thought: gluttony. Action: Moderation.
    Second Waking (morn): state: waking. Thought: envy, Action: Contentment
    Third Waking (noon): state: waking. Thought: sloth/despondency: Action: Diligence
    Fourth Waking (dusk): state: waking. Thought: greed. Action: Liberality.

    Some of this is drawn from the Philokalia, but I’ve adapted it to a non-monastic context. The only one of these that is universal is the ‘after noon doldrums’ – requiring the extreme violence of diligence.

    For weeks, one may require a bit of help:

    Sunday (outside the number)
    Monday: sphere: the moon/the angels; thought: treachery. Action: integrity
    Tuesday: sphere: Mars/John the Baptist: thought: cowardice. Action: courage/fortitude
    Wednesday: sphere: Mercury/the betrayal: thought: doubt. Action: faith/trust
    Thursday: sphere: Jupiter/the apostles: thought: folly. Action: discrimination
    Friday: sphere: Venus/the cross: thought: dissipation, Action: temperance
    Saturday: sphere: Saturn/the dead/the Mother of God: thought: despair. Action: hope

    This long comment does not constitute legal spiritual counsel, use at your own risk.


    admin Reply:

    (This is all great. For meditative digestion.)


    Posted on March 31st, 2015 at 5:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • RorschachRomanov Says:

    Not much in the way of content convergence, but I was just thinking of Time myself:


    Balthazar Reply:

    Oh hell naw! Someone call up The Grand Inquisitor, post haste! … Here’s an argument for patriarchy if there ever was one!

    These fell completely flat.


    RorschachRomanov Reply:

    Thanks. I’ll make sure to keep your obviously erudite and useful commentary/critique in mind as I post in the future.

    **sarcasm present**


    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Your blog is down, what’s up with that? :/

    Posted on March 31st, 2015 at 6:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Exfernal Says:

    Isn’t it the first of April post? if so, I like better the fourfold cycle of powers of imaginary unit. More Occidental in spirit, so to speak. 🙂


    Posted on April 2nd, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    Compared to cross of Akht numerical anatomy here will be 6, 6, 6, 3 total 21. Guessing, which one is oldest.


    Posted on April 2nd, 2015 at 5:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Deicidus Says:

    Great system! Saturn the taskmaster.

    I just set up the system as a series of two index cards. The first set is a daily cycle to rotate through:

    1—Clean Up
    4—Work Out
    8—Archives (3ing—allowing myself to wander and clean up whatever floats to the top of the Stack in the H.U.D.—within the Time Circuit)
    7—Inbox (going through small whiteboard tasks; planning and strategizing to keep the system tuned and the trajectory on-point)

    The second set of index cards is a set of six projects, which fall under the categories:

    1—Activism and Publicity (self-aggrandizement, communication with friends, etc.)
    4—Art (because making art is like being crucified)
    8—Research (“Research”)

    My previous system was nearly the same as this one—the two big differences were that I was using a whiteboard with two lists on it instead of cards; and my daily list had 11 items on it (sleep and going to be are listed twice, first and last) and each list item was coded with a number 0-9 (already nummified :-D).

    On some cards, I write a second-tier activity below the first. This activity can be performed on the second loop-around of six in a single day. This means there are/I have six buffers or stacks to sort things amongst—a prism of six colors or directions which can/will quickly coalesce axially (and already has).

    On cards where I am blocked on the action, I also write the blocking pre-actions above that card, so they can be acknowledge in the proper order as blocks and performed first without human guilt.

    @admin, Is this usage of a nested set of six activated by one of the top-tier six cards in accordance with your instructions? I am worried that the projects won’t get done enough because they are only 1/6th of the top-level stack. But, those top-level stack items need to be done regularly to clear the karmic backlog. Eventually each of those top-level stack items, boring as they are, has a chance to ascend and evaporate as the respective stack is cleared.

    Any suggestions on managing or integrating the two lists/intents? Projects are more important, but crumble if daily activities are left out of attention.


    Posted on September 5th, 2016 at 5:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Deicidus Says:

    I have already exorcised my first victim using six-based stack encoding neg-protocol enunciation (76[10] or dharma de-en-re-coding). No need to portmanteau that one.


    Posted on September 5th, 2016 at 5:55 am Reply | Quote

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