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 Post subject: Looking for "philosophy on the board"
Post #1 Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:49 am 
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Hi everyone,

I am looking at content around Go knowledge applied to life.
I know Bill Cobb has had a column around that called "philosophy on the board" or "philosophical reflections" 'available here: https://www.usgo.org/news/category/colu ... pty-board/

Do you know if there are other ressources available please?

Many thanks for your help,

Martin

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Post #2 Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:57 am 
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https://senseis.xmp.net/?PhilosophyAndGo

It's not a list of books, rather a path of pages, but those should contain the necessary links.

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Post #3 Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:33 am 
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@knotwilg: thank you very much, this looks very interesting indeed

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Post #4 Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:27 am 
Oza

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Quote:
I am looking at content around Go knowledge applied to life.


There is a simple and widely used solution, and one used by Go Seigen every day of his life. Get a good copy of the Yi Jing (I Ching, Book of Changes). Apart from the fact that its techniques have been tried and tested over centuries, its great merit is that you are not fed someone else's philosophy (which often turns out to be ideology!) but are guided to explore your own thoughts and ideas. This marries up well with Nietzsche's views on the philosophical process.

I have a chapter on this in The Go Companion, but you can get by easily on your own. The only thing I will stress is that you should avoid the hippy-type editions that focus on divination and incense burning. Unfortunately this is the vast majority. A safe option is a Legge edition, because Legge was a Methodist missionary who would have no truck with Chinese superstitions, but his format requires you to wade through molasses. A good modern version that is readable, well informed, attractively produced and avoids the flower-power syndrome is the one by Alfred Huang. It does have a bit of a Daoist tinge, but that's no bad thing for a go player - all the early Chinese go classics were produced by people imbued with Daoism, and the problems in the Xuanxuan Qijing (see my Gateway To All Marvels) exemplify that.

There is no reference to go within the Book of Changes. You have to provide that yourself. But you can start with any question you like, say "What is the true value of thickness?", pick a hexagram at random (to avoid imposing your existing prejudices) and then start thinking about the answer - the answer special to you - by following the key words in the explanations to the hexagram. With a little practice you can start linking to other hexagrams (as guided by the deeper parts of the text). Apart from coming up with answers, this guided thinking process is actually very good for relaxation.


This post by John Fairbairn was liked by: fireproof
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Post #5 Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:45 am 
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Hi John,

You're right regarding ideologism ;)

I had no knowledge of the Yi Jing. This seems to be an amazing book. I will order it asap!

Thanks again

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Post #6 Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:24 am 
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Hi Martin,

Go With the Flow, by Cho Hunhyun, certainly fits the description "Go knowledge applied to life", at least in parts. Sometimes it goes the self-help route with fairly over-simplistic statements about life, character, and will, but I'd say it's an interesting book nonetheless.

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Post #7 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:41 pm 
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Hi "Salerno",

Many thanks for this recommendation. I wasn't aware of this book.
Good to see there's some publications in english. I desesperate to see there's less books available vs 2-3 years ago.

I'll definitely buy this one!

Cheers :bow:

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Post #8 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:48 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
I am looking at content around Go knowledge applied to life.


There is a simple and widely used solution, and one used by Go Seigen every day of his life. Get a good copy of the Yi Jing (I Ching, Book of Changes). Apart from the fact that its techniques have been tried and tested over centuries, its great merit is that you are not fed someone else's philosophy (which often turns out to be ideology!) but are guided to explore your own thoughts and ideas. This marries up well with Nietzsche's views on the philosophical process.

I have a chapter on this in The Go Companion, but you can get by easily on your own. The only thing I will stress is that you should avoid the hippy-type editions that focus on divination and incense burning. Unfortunately this is the vast majority. A safe option is a Legge edition, because Legge was a Methodist missionary who would have no truck with Chinese superstitions, but his format requires you to wade through molasses. A good modern version that is readable, well informed, attractively produced and avoids the flower-power syndrome is the one by Alfred Huang. It does have a bit of a Daoist tinge, but that's no bad thing for a go player - all the early Chinese go classics were produced by people imbued with Daoism, and the problems in the Xuanxuan Qijing (see my Gateway To All Marvels) exemplify that.

There is no reference to go within the Book of Changes. You have to provide that yourself. But you can start with any question you like, say "What is the true value of thickness?", pick a hexagram at random (to avoid imposing your existing prejudices) and then start thinking about the answer - the answer special to you - by following the key words in the explanations to the hexagram. With a little practice you can start linking to other hexagrams (as guided by the deeper parts of the text). Apart from coming up with answers, this guided thinking process is actually very good for relaxation.



I would recommend reading different philosophical directions, because there is no single life approach for everyone at once. Someone does not give a damn about researching some life goals and aspirations, someone lives like a vegetable one day, not striving for anything. If you have an interest and desire to delve into the meaning of life processes, to draw useful ideas for yourself, then you can and should read different psychologists and philosophers. Even the old teachings are still valid.

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Post #9 Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:17 pm 
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Go to KGS. Search for "Betka". I just likes those widsoms there, even after so many years, almost poetic.

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Post #10 Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:35 am 
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I am very much interested in this topic, and I am not sure if I've been looking in the wrong direction, but I haven't found much,
For starters, I believe much of what is learned on the board can be applied to real life, such as not clinging to a group that's clearly dead, but instead try to use it for a future battle.
But beyond that, I am intrigued that the old chinese seemed to have little regard for the game. For all their philosophy, this one clearly flew over their head. I happen to be a big fan of the Yijing 《易經》, and it seems to me to speak directly to the changes on the board.
It may have been luck, but the same days I used to attend a Go club, I also had a Taijiquan teacher, and my brain naturally related both. The yin/yang aspects of pushing and pulling, hard and soft, retreating and advancing, saw an applied analogue in the game, from the colors of the stones themselves to actual play: life and death, thickness and loseness, heavy and light plays, strong vs weak groups, sente/gote, pushing ahead and from behind, and yet more. Recall that phrase from the Qijing Shisanpian 《棋經十三篇》: The board is square and quiet, the stones are round and active.
I guess this all boil down, as mr Fairbairn here suggested, to study the Changes. And maybe the Chen Canon of Taijiquan (both I am reading actually).
But I am kind of puzzled that not much attention has been given to the essentialy chinese genius of the game, and that the chinese produced but one classic on the subject. I guess one could also read chinese military treatises, such as the the Bingfa 《兵法》 (aka The Ar of War), and link to it profitably.

Perhaps I was very deeply impressed by go, but recently I have found analogy in a different realm: the Plant Kingdom. Working with plants, and seeing how they compete for resources, immediately reminds me of groups of stones struggling for eye space.
This all might cause you to think that I am very passionate about Go, but in reality I am a ddk who doesn't play too often because it demands a lot of brainpower on my part to keep a good rythm. But the game does seem to be so profound, I think it fits the word from Laozi: 玄之又玄,衆妙之門。

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for "philosophy on the board"
Post #11 Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 12:12 pm 
Oza

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Quote:
But I am kind of puzzled that not much attention has been given to the essentialy chinese genius of the game, and that the chinese produced but one classic on the subject.


They produced many: manuals, poems, essays. It is the lack in English you are noticing. They go back up to 2,000 years. In the pre-modern period, the production of go manuals (some massive: over 1,000 pages) outnumbers Japanese production by at least 50 to 1. Furthermore, the content of the Chinese manuals is far richer. Long game commentaries, for example - these didn't exist in Japan at all until the 20th century. Analysis of the commentary language shows that all the standard theoretical concepts we use today were known in China at least 500 years ago (thickness, sabaki, moyos, amashi etc - though with a Chinese flavour; and they have some we don't). I have about 40-50 such old manuals. Surviving go poems number in the low thousands.

Much of the pure philosophy reposes in manual prefaces. Some manuals have multiple prefaces. These prefaces were written by great scholars. Although I could scream every time I see the cliched references to "I am not a good go player" or references to go being but a "minor art" (Mencius), for the most part they are insightful essays that show often Daoist leanings but still syncretic concerns that often also betray the impact of the world outside go. For example, at times of invasion or, say, the war with Taiwan and Japanese pirates, there is often an implicit plea that studying go will offer insight into how those wars can best be fought.

The past is a foreign country. You have to learn its language.

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Post #12 Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 12:58 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
They produced many: manuals, poems, essays. It is the lack in English you are noticing. They go back up to 2,000 years. In the pre-modern period, the production of go manuals (some massive: over 1,000 pages) outnumbers Japanese production by at least 50 to 1.


Thought so, I'm glad it is that way. Still, in the internet most of what is available seems to be from japan, I checked the chinese books section at SL and, while it has several entries, they are still scant and provide no links to outside resources, much unlike the japanese books page.
I understand the reason why, but do you know of any site where I can find some (classical) chinese weiqi literature, or otherwise some research on the subject? I found a bit of history at yutopian but not much more than that.
Thank you.

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Post #13 Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:47 pm 
Oza

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Quote:
do you know of any site where I can find some (classical) chinese weiqi literature,


Sorry, I don't know sites because I do things in person (friends, visits to China, rummaging through university stacks, etc). I'm too old to be a proper Google person.

I'm sure sites exist, because books are being produced. But if you do go down that route, be aware that much of what is produced today is littered with editorial mistakes and lacunae, and of course classical Chinese is far from easy (even for native Chinese people). Editorial mistakes most often can be traced back to sloppy work and forgeries in ancient times by the equivalents of today's internet pirates, or even things like books being rebound with the pages all mixed up. Lacunae are because of damaged or unreadable originals. And when it comes to classical Chinese, dictionaries are a curate's egg (mostly in the ancient sense) and Google Translate produces English that English natives can barely recognise as English. For example, taking a line full of very easy characters from a Ming preface (the context is the value of having go manuals that use diagrams to present the vicissitudes of victory and defeat in war in the palm of one's hand):

斯亦独观于象外而有补于局中,谁能废之。

Si also sees outside the elephant alone but makes up for it, who can abandon it. (Google)
This is also a unique view outside the elephant and a complement to the game. (DeepL)

It's fun, but a big commitment, and most of the time you are on your own.

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