Binary Numbers and
the South Korean Flag

The flag of South Korea exhibits anti-symmetry, or symmetry with a property reversal. The circular symbol in the center, called the yin-yang, represents opposing forces in the universe. It is anti-symmetrical because of the red/blue interchange. The eight markings, called trigrams or Pa-kua symbols, are opposites of one another diagonally. Broken lines are unbroken and vice versa.

If you replace each unbroken line in the trigrams by 0 and each broken line by 1, you will see that the symbols represent numbers in the binary (base two) number system. The symbols and their meanings appear below. The binary numbers are read from bottom to top.
 
  0 
HEAVEN
   1 
STEAM
  2 
FIRE
  3 
THUNDER
 
  4
WIND
  5
WATER
  6
MOUNTAIN
  7
EARTH
 
On the South Korean flag, HEAVEN (0) at the upper left is opposite EARTH (7) at the lower right, and WATER (5) at the upper right is opposite FIRE (2) at the lower left. The sum of the numbers that correspond to each pair of opposite numbers is 7.

The trigrams appear in one of the world's oldest books, the I Ching (pronounced "ye jing") or Book of Changes, and are printed on compasses and good luck charms. When superimposed on one another, they form the 8 x 8 = 64 hexagrams, which provide the essential text of the Chinese oracle-book. The hexagrams cover all human conditions and occasions - a kind of inspired formula for interpreting events in the world. All 64 hexagrams will be found in The Index Chart of 64 Hexagrams.
 


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08-December-2008
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